Set Up the Windows Desktop App on Your Windows 8 Tablet - dummies

Set Up the Windows Desktop App on Your Windows 8 Tablet

By Andy Rathbone

To launch the desktop, tap your Windows 8 tablet’s Start screen’s Desktop app. The Desktop app’s pretty easy to find. It’s not only labeled Desktop, but also its tile looks like a miniature view of your real desktop, complete with the same background.

When loaded, the Desktop app looks and behaves much like the desktop from earlier versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and Windows Vista.


Don’t see the Desktop app on the Start screen? Swipe your finger up the screen from your tablet’s bottom edge; then tap the All Apps icon. When your tablet displays a list of all your installed apps, the Desktop app should be listed alphabetically in the Apps section. Tap the Desktop app’s tile to launch it.

Your fingers can control much of the desktop. But many parts of the desktop require more pinpoint precision than a fingertip can give. Specifically, you’ll have trouble selecting items from lists, editing text, and selecting menu options.

So, if you’re ready for some real work on the desktop, follow these steps to turn your Windows 8 tablet into a full-fledged desktop PC:

  1. Plug in a keyboard.

    You may be a speedy typist on your tablet’s glass keyboard, but no matter how fast you type, the keyboard always covers half of your tablet’s screen. To bring your full desktop back into view, you need a real keyboard. You can plug one into your tablet’s USB port or connect wirelessly with a Bluetooth keyboard.

    Spot an unused desktop computer lying around the office or hotel? Feel free to borrow a keyboard from any of them. (You can attach and detach a USB keyboard from a desktop PC without turning off the PC first.)

    Then plug the keyboard into your tablet’s rectangular USB port.

  2. Plug in a mouse.

    You can also plug mice into a USB port. If a keyboard already hogs the port, a small Bluetooth mouse comes in handy. Its wireless connection doesn’t require a USB port.

    Or you can buy a portable USB hub. When you plug the hub into your tablet’s lone USB port, your tablet immediately sprouts extra USB ports for your accessories.

  3. Plug in an external monitor (optional).

    If your tablet’s screen doesn’t seem large enough, connect a cable between your tablet’s video port and an external monitor, either an HDTV or a desktop PC monitor. Then set up your tablet for dual screens. This way, you can view your notes on your tablet while using the larger desktop monitor to write and edit your document.

  4. Plug your tablet into the wall to recharge the battery.

    When you set up camp at a desk, it’s also a good time to plug your tablet’s charger into a nearby wall outlet and start recharging your tablet.

Plugging in a keyboard and mouse combines the best of the touchscreen and desktop PC worlds. You can still use touch commands on the tablet, but when a mouse and keyboard handle a job more easily, you can reach for them, too.

True to tablet form, when you’re through, you can unplug everything and walk away, taking all of your information with you.

If you’ll be using the desktop a lot on your tablet, position the Desktop app in the Start screen’s upper-left corner. After you plug in an external keyboard, press Enter at the Start screen to launch the Desktop app.